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Withdrawing care from a patient without reasonable notice or without providing a referral for completion of dental treatment


Independent functioning or the principle that expresses the concept that the dental team has a duty to treat the patient according to the patient's desires, within the bounds of accepted treatment, and to protect the patient's confidentiality.


A principle that expresses the concept that the dental team has a duty to promote the patient's welfare.

Civil Law

Noncriminal legal action that a patient may pursue against a dentist that may result in a compensation lawsuit for pain, suffering, and loss of wages resulting from a dental treatment or dentist's actions

Criminal Law

Involves a state or government action against individuals who perform nonlegal procedures or violate laws. Such lawsuits can result in disciplinary action, fines, and/or imprisonment

Dental Jurisprudence

The governing laws in the science of dentistry

Dental Practice Act

Legal restrictions set forth by each state legislative body that describe the statutes regarding performance guidelines for licensed and nonlicensed dental health care professionals

Due Care

The actions any reasonable or prudent dental care professional would perform under similar circumstances


This is one of the "four D's" in Malpractice; this refers to the relationship involved with the problem. The dentist directing the dental assistant to administrate nitrous oxide to a dental patient is an example of this relationship


refers to what the dental assistant should do - that is, a highest standard of behavior.

Expanded Function

Advanced task that requires increased skill and training performed by a dental auxiliary when delegated by a dentist in accordance with the governing state dental practice act

Express Contract

Verbal or written words that are agreed on in an established contract


An intentional misrepresentation of a fact with the intent to deprive a person of property or legal rights

Health Insurance Portability and accountability act

(HIPAA) An act passed by Congress to address the security and privacy of health data

Implied Contract

A contract that is implemented by the patient's actions, not verbally or written. Also known as implied consent

Informed Consent

The procedure of fully informing a patient about the chocies the patient has regarding his/her dental care

Informed Refusal

Occurs when the patient refuses treatment after he/she has been fully educated regarding the consequence of not receiving the treatment


the principle that the dental team has a duty to be fair in their dealings with patients without prejudice


Incorrect or negligent treatment by a professional


Failure to use a standard of care that a reasonable person would apply under related situations


The ethical principle of doing no harm, based on the Hippocratic maxim, primum non nocere, first do no harm; the principle that means that the dental team has a duty to protect the paitent from harm.


Allows in individual to transfer licensure, with the same rights, from one state to another without having to retake licensure exams

Res gestae

Statements made at the time of an alleged negligent act that are admissible in court as evidence

res ipsa loquitur

"The act speaks for inself" (Latin). The cause is obvious

respondeat superior

"The master answers" (Latin). The employer is responsible for all employee actions

Risk management

Actions implemented to miximize legal risks to the dental practice


an oral defamation; the saying of false and malicious words about another, resulting in injury to his or her reputation.
any words spoken with malice that are untrue and prejudicial to the reputation, professional practice, commercial trade, office, or business of another person.

Standard of Care

A diagnostic and treatment process that a clinician should follow for a certain type of patient, illness, or clinical circumstance. a legal term and it means "the way it ought to be done"


a law enacted and established by a legislative department of government or
statute that provides for the recovery of damages by a party other than the party who received the fatal injuries.


Intentional or unintentional act that causes harm


The dental team has a duty to be honest and trustworthy in their dealings with people


Health and Human Services


Health Insurance portability and Accountablility Act


Personal Health Information

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